Our journey through Hyrule in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is not over yet because Nintendo has released the first major piece of its Expansion Pass DLC. The Master Trials adds a variety of legacy items, new modes, and interesting extras to a game that already felt packed full of content. On this episode of Power Button, Blake Grundman and I spend an hour digging into the new material and discussing whether or not it's a worthwhile buy. Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes and Google Play, toss this RSS feed into your podcast aggregation software of choice, and be sure to catch up on past episodes if you're joining us late. Remember that you can reach us via
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I wondered if it would be possible to do astrophotography with this camera. Searching the internet I was surprised that nobody had tried this before and decided to give it a go. Using the 1838 6'' Fraunhofer telescope in the Old Observatory of Leiden in combination with a 'Gosky Universal Cell Phone Adapter', it was relatively easy to properly align the camera with the telescope eyepiece. The biggest issue was a typical Dutch one: waiting for a cloudless night.
A few weeks later the clouds finally broke up and the Moon was high in the sky together with Jupiter. Not wanting to pass up on this opportunity, I rushed to the observatory and clicked away. The Moon was observed trough the viewfinder for a more zoomed out image and the main telescope for detailed shots. The viewfinder images are not very impressive, although the phase of the moon is clearly visible, especially when compared with a Stellarium image of that night. (Note that telscopes flip the image.) The second moon series was much better, especially when looking at the border between the light and dark sides. We can clearly see craters on the Moon.
He has actual photos of celestial objects that you absolutely must see. I love a good "because I could" vintage technology project and this has to be one of the most "because I could" projects I've ever seen. I don't know what possible use this telescope application has beyond being an interesting lark, but my compliments to Pietrow for his ingenuity. I hope that word of this reaches the Game Boy Camera's original development staff. I bet they would be pleased to learn that their own "because I could" project has been used to photograph other planets.
When it comes to the glory days of the 16-bit console mascots, it's easy to rattle off a list of characters that are not Super Mario or Sonic the Hedgehog. Invariably I always want to list Rayman in the company of Bubsy and Plok, but then I remember that Rayman never appeared on the Super NES or Sega Genesis. Instead he was born on the Sony PlayStation, Sega Saturn, and Atari Jaguar. He just feels like he should have come from the 16-bit era though, and it's probably a lingering half-memory of early Rayman magazine coverage that's responsible for this instinct. Now thanks to a recently released prototype, we can see Rayman's original Super NES incarnation in action. I knew I wasn't crazy! Ethan Gach at Kotaku explains Rayman's unfinished origins:
Information about a long, lost SNES Rayman game first re-surfaced last fall when designer Michel Ancel, the series creator, shared pictures of a ROM for an old prototype build of the game that had been re-discovered by a friend. The first Rayman game ended up metamorphosing and coming to the Atari Jaguar, Sega Saturn, and PS1 instead, with the original SNES vision lost to time. But After 24 years the ROM still worked, and now, thanks to Cornut, what exists of it is even playable.
It’s extremely limited in its scope, including a small environment, the ability to jump, and a few other character animations. “That prototype it is a very early build,” said Cornut. “So the stuff like two-player mode that have been shown in screenshots are not really in this build. Perhaps the ROM contains secrets in which case homebrew hackers will hopefully unearth them soon. “
Seeing Rayman move around in this prototype reminds me of the forgotten SNES/Genesis action platformer B.O.B. in which a space robot traverses dark, tech-inspired levels. Rayman's design is essentially intact here compared to his final form, although he's not as detailed as he would appear on 32-bit consoles. Looking at this now, I think of how larger than life arcade characters from games like Street Fighter II were scaled down to fit on lesser hardware such as the Game Boy. Sure, this is Rayman, but he's smaller and less alive than we're used to seeing him. From a historical perspective I'm glad that we can experience this prototype, but I think the character benefited more from his actual debut on stronger hardware.
Nintendo's resurrected Star Fox 2 has become the subject of newfound attention this week thanks to the announcement that the lost game will be included in the Super NES Classic Edition later this year, bringing it out of the vault more than twenty years after development ended. Fans have been able to sample it for years thanks to a leaked unfinished version of the game that appeared online during the height of excitement for emulating Super NES games in the wild west era of the Internet, but aside from generally knowing that this early version is out there, it's unlikely that most of Star Fox 2's new fans are aware of the long path that the game traveled from Nintendo's vault to the open Internet. Nobody just shoved a cartridge into a modem and called it a day. SNES Central takes a look back at how that rogue copy of Star Fox 2 escaped into the wild.
The real blockbuster, which served as the pinnacle of the SNES emulation scene, in my opinion, was the release of the final beta of Star Fox 2 in August 2002 (well documented by d4s in this FAQ, who also had a big hand in the discovery of the ROM image). The first screenshots appeared on the now defunct website, sportkompaktwoche.de. The ROM itself needed several fixes (made by The Dumper) before it could play in emulators, though there were accusations that it was a fake before that happened. The unfixed ROM was leaked by "skyhawk" of the German fan translation site, Alemanic Translations. Apparently skyhawk claimed to have found this game on a prototype cart and dumped it himself, probably leading to the widespread belief this game was found off a prototype cart.
In reality, Star Fox 2 was leaked as a pure assembled binary from a former developer who wanted the game emulated, and the ROM was not in a proper SNES ROM format initially. There was no source code leaked, nor was there ever a prototype or production cart of it. Soon after the leak of Star Fox 2, emulator authors incorporated proper Super FX emulation, allowing the general community to play the game in all its glory.
Before fans could play this version of Star Fox 2, it had to be patched and manipulated to make it playable in the emulators of the day. Fan translation groups reworked the script into English. Even the lingering debug tools had to be disabled to make the game as much like the presumed finished release as possible. Even this version isn't truly the final game though, as Retronauts reports that Star Fox 2 designer Dylan Cuthbert has noted that the true mastered version has never leaked.
According to programmer and designer Dylan Cuthbert, a completed build that's never been leaked (and will presumably be the version included with the Super NES Classic Edition) received an extra coat of polish and incorporated a greater deal of randomization to add even more replay value to the experience. The planned multiplayer mode is also hopefully in working order, and maybe they even assigned some greater purpose to the giant coins bearing General Pepper's likeness which you can find hidden around the game.
Officially releasing Star Fox 2 isn't the end of the legend, it's just the next chapter. The Super NES Classic Edition releases in September 2017.
Capcom's Mega Man series gets a lot of OverClocked ReMix love, and delightfully it's not all Air Man and Dr. Wily stage remixes. Today I'd like to bring your attention to a funky jazz remix of Mega Man 3's Spark Man stage by Nostalvania/Markus who brings the funky bass, violin, and organ to the mix along with a variety of fittingly electric instruments with "Rock My Socket". Come for the bass pounding out the introductory measures of the theme, stay for the organ solo, and linger afterward for the rejected titles for this track including "I'm Live And Alive" and "Ohm My God".
Following up on last year's hard-to-find Nintendo Entertainment System mini console, Nintendo has just announced a Super NES counterpart. The Super Nintendo Entertainment System Classic Edition is headed to stores in North America on September 29, 2017 with two controller and twenty-one built-in games including the never before released Star Fox 2 for $79.99. It's probably already sold out. Anyways, here are the included games according to the press release:
Contra III: The Alien Wars™
Donkey Kong Country™
Final Fantasy III
Kirby™ Super Star
Kirby’s Dream Course™
The Legend of Zelda™: A Link to the Past™
Mega Man® X
Secret of Mana
Star Fox™ 2
Street Fighter® II Turbo: Hyper Fighting
Super Castlevania IV™
Super Ghouls ’n Ghosts®
Super Mario Kart™
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars™
Super Mario World™
Super Punch-Out!! ™
You'll have to unlock Star Fox 2, by the way. They didn't make it too difficult; you'll just need to complete the first level of the original Star Fox. There are some solid classics on this list that will keep players busy for quite some time, and it's interesting how Nintendo learned from the success of the mini NES last year. This SNES mini contains fewer games at a higher price, but it also comes with a second controller in the box and the included games are all gold. No filler here and I see most of what I was hoping to find in this collection. I look forward to trying to get one of this consoles later in the year, but after the trouble I had last year with the NES model, I'm not expecting to be able to get one. I hope they manufacture enough of these to meet demand. They have to know these will be in high demand, right?
The daily updates of new badges and fun commentary from the Arcade Bunny at the Nintendo Badge Arcade for the Nintendo 3DS have ended with the service signing off from new updates in North America yesterday. This follows similar finales in other regions around the world. While the arcade will still be available, new badges will no longer be added and will instead rotate out some of the more than eight thousand existing badges. Playing at the arcade will still cost money, but the service will offer two free plays per day starting late next week. Over at USgamer, Caty McCarthy says farewell to the arcade.
The Nintendo Badge Arcade was an odd thing when it burst onto the scene around the same time that the New 3DS did in late 2015, with its customizable faceplates and all. It was the peak of "customize everything" Nintendo—the badges were both a joyful celebration of neglected IPs (Rhythm Heaven, Tomodachi Life) just as much as it showed off the familiar ones (Mario, Pokémon). Badges were digital trinkets implemented to spice up a 3DS' home screen, whether with obtrusive clutter or careful implementation. Some even replaced icons that already resided there, like a necessary settings icon, now made cute and functional.
I was a fan of the arcade and played it several times per week especially when free plays were offered. I often told my podcast pal Blake Grundman to never give it any money to encourage the continued rise of free-to-play services in the Nintendo ecosystem, but I'm guilty of tossing a few dollars at the Arcade Bunny over the years to try and get that one badge or two that I really absolutely had to have.